Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, is the headline speaker at this years’ regional Digital City Festival taking place in Media City.

The event, exclusive to Greater Manchester, is being held at Media City for the second year in a row and features a range of high profile and esteemed guest speakers from some of the most progressive and innovative media organisations around Europe. The Media City portions of the festival are being hosted by Home of Skills & Technology Salford, an innovation hub in Media City which offers workspace and business support with the aim of creating a diverse and inclusive tech community.

The festival started yesterday, Monday 7th March, with Mr Burnham passionately addressing the audience on his plans to assert Manchester as a leading digital city, recognised globally for its innovation, he said; “2020’s festival was like the end of the old world. Digital City Festival 2021 was a world in transition. This year’s festival is about the new world we’re coming into. Things have changed, and the cities that prosper in this new world will be the ones that recognise that quickly.

“What does it mean now, post-pandemic, to be a digital city region? I think it is about building a place where everybody has, every day, digital access.” He laid down his goals for the coming years and outlined the potential economic impact of technological growth and inclusivity, “We are Europe’s fastest-growing digital and tech hub, there are new opportunities opening up for Manchester too, with the expansion to the city of organisations including DCMS and other public bodies. However, there are still obstacles facing the sector and city from a lack of digital skills and an inequality in access to them.

“The most diverse organisations in the digital world will be the most successful, because they’re drawing on the talents of all people and therefore they’re in touch with all of their customers. That will be what makes a successful digital business.

“Let’s use Digital City Festival 2022 for that purpose. To build Greater Manchester as a digital city region, but actually to build the new world post-pandemic, and make sure it’s a world that involves all of our people, builds resilience in all of our communities, but also builds the prosperity of this great place.”

Immediately following Andy Burnham’s speech was the inaugural Cyber Summit, focused on showcasing the heights of cyber innovation and featuring speeches, panels, networking and Q&As with some of the most influential figures in the digital world.

The second day of the DCF 2022 kicked off at Soapworks in Ordsall and focuses on making the region of Greater Manchester more digitally equipped and inclusive by increasing accessibility and education on technology, particularly among certain demographics, with the target set out to get all under-25s, over-75s and disabled people online.

While Wednesday and Thursday’s proceedings will take place in Manchester, the festival will reach its crescendo with the inaugural Esports Festival on Friday at the Blue Tower building in Media City. Discussing the presence of Esports in the UK and the possibility of bringing global Esports events and competitions to the City of Manchester.

Esports play a prominent role in the world of sports with most professional football clubs now endorsing Esports teams to compete under their name. Manchester United have one of England’s premiere Esports teams and compete in global tournaments.

The festival has garnered a distinguished reputation over its short three-year history. Guest speakers in Greater Manchester this week include Member of Parliament and Under-Secretary of State for the Department of Technology, Culture, Media and Sport, Chris Philp and Councillor Bev Craig, the Greater Manchester Combined Authority Lead for Digital Education Skills, Work and Apprenticeships. A full list of the guest speakers, as well as the agenda for the rest of the Festival can be found here:

World Economic Forum via Flickr under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

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